Did you know that over 36% of the population fear going to the dentist? This kind of dental anxiety increases the risk of tooth decay and other dental problems. This is why teaching children how to deal with dental anxiety is such an important step for all parents. This ensures your child gets the dental care they need throughout their entire life without succumbing to their fear. To help you and your child, we’ve collected the top pediatric dentist recommended tips down below.
A lot of the time, parents end up creating a sense of fear without even realizing it. When you use frightening words, your child remembers and associates that feeling with the idea of going to visit the dentist.
Avoid using words like ‘pain’, ‘shot’, and ‘needle’. Instead, try to frame the visit in a positive light. Focus on the good things and avoid talking about the scary things.
This helps your child feel much more at ease when they see a dentist.
Make Dentist Visits a Normal Routine
One of the best ways to help your child’s anxiety is to make it a normal thing to visit the dentist regularly. This way, it’s no longer something that happens once every couple of years and you’ll avoid common tooth problems.
They’ll feel more comfortable with a routine with which they’ve grown accustomed. Starting at an early age also helps with this.
To make it easier to continue seeing the dentist every few months, make sure to search for ‘pediatric dentist near me’. A local dentist cuts down on travel times and makes the experience easier for the whole family.
Avoid Excessive Details
You should always give your child an idea of what to expect from the dentist since the fear of the unknown is often more powerful than reality. When you go to explain the procedure and the necessity of visiting the dentist, try to leave out excessive details.
It’s better to share the bigger picture so that your child knows what to expect, but not so much that they’ll become afraid of the procedure before even arriving.
Sometimes being vague is a much better option when dealing with dental anxiety!
Be a Good Example
Before you can expect good behavior from your child, you’ll need to set a good example for them to emulate. If you share your fears of the dentist, this only strengthens the anxiety your child feels. They’ll know their feelings are right because you feel them as well.
Make sure to show your child that you go to the dentist because it’s good for you. Don’t share any fears of your own because it’s better that they see you visiting a dentist with confidence.
Help Them Understand
Although they’re young, children aren’t incapable of understanding the importance of good hygiene. This is why you’ll want to explain to them all of the reasons why they want to keep their teeth healthy and strong.
This kind of knowledge stays with them throughout their entire life.
Plus, if your child knows how important it is, they’ll be more likely to inform you of an emergency situation instead of hiding it.
Bring a Comforting Toy
Toys are an invaluable asset for any child who needs help with their anxiety. It’s a familiar presence and it gives them something else to focus on during a procedure.
A favorite teddy bear or inspiring action figure works great for these types of situations. You’ll want to ensure that the toy isn’t too distracting or invasive for the dentist. Make sure to get in contact with your pediatric dentist and ask about the toy before the visit to make certain it’s okay!
Hide Your Emotional Reactions
It’s never an easy task to sit beside your child as they’re going through a dental procedure. It’s normal to have emotional reactions or worries when you see something that looks painful.
You’ll want to try and avoid showing these emotional reactions at all. If your child notices, it only amplifies the fear inside of them. It’ll make the procedure even more difficult for everyone involved.
Try to present yourself with a calm exterior. Any other emotions are better dealt with after the dentist visit is over.
Offered as a last resort, sometimes sedation is the best way to give your child the dental care they need. This is often a necessary step to ensure that a child’s fear or special needs don’t get in the way of a difficult procedure.
It’s not a bad thing to allow sedation to take place. For many parents, it’s a relief to see their child no longer stressed out to an extreme.
Make sure to talk to your kid’s dental care provider about sedation options if this is something that’s needed for your child. There are several different types that each have unique qualities. Your dental care provider will know how to pick the best match for your child.
Reward Their Efforts
After a difficult visit with the dentist, it’s a good idea to try and get your child’s mind off of the procedure and onto something enjoyable. Bring them to their favorite park or go see a movie.
Doing this ensures that your child doesn’t focus on any discomfort they felt during the dentist visit. Instead, they’ll distract themselves with the reward afterward. This kind of ‘palate cleanser’ helps your child associate good feelings at the end of a dental care visit.
A Good Pediatric Dentist Knows How to Make the Visit Enjoyable
All of the above tips are great starting points for dealing with fears of going to the dentist. One of the best ways to ensure your child experiences less anxiety is to find a good pediatric dentist.
Make sure to talk to your local dentist and explain the situation to them. The best dentists know all about dental anxiety and how to help you and your little one deal with it.
We’re here to assist you every step of the way. Check out our services to find out more!